New coach high on Warriors

Confidence is sky high for first-year Marion baseball coach Tyler Mermis.

Mermis, who is assistant police chief in town, is hoping to see a photo in the Free Press of his fellow officers and baseball team leading a convoy out of town on the way to the Class 3A state baseball tournament.

?We have the talent this year,? he said. ?I can see us finishing in the top five of 3A baseball. The goal for these seniors is to go to state and win it.?

Marion returns a nucleus of players from the summer team that made a trip to the Babe Ruth state tournament.

Mermis coached that team.

In fact, the only player on the Marion roster that wasn?t on that team was Brian Fruech?ting, who was a key player for the Junction City team that finished second in the Zone 4 tournament.

Pitching

Fruechting anchors a deep pitching staff. He will be the No. 1 starter with Marshall Raglund as No. 2.

The bullpen is led by Wil Case, who throws hard and is the No. 1 closer. Matt Sprowls will also see time at closer. He was named MVP on the Babe Ruth team.

Isaac Hett brings speed coming out of the bullpen. The southpaw has less experience than some of the other players but had success last summer.

Freshman Austin Pederson will be a relieve both for the varsity and junior varsity.

?We have a lot of pitching on this team,? Mermis said. ?There?s no doubt in my mind that I can call on any of those guys.?

Position players

Looking at past stats, Mermis said Marion has been able to get on base, but sometimes has had trouble scoring.

Mermis wants to take a more aggressive approach at the plate and on the base paths this year.

?What (we) want to do this year is stack the lineup from one to nine with guys that can run and hit,? he said. ?Hit the ball, get on base, let the next guy get you around, or steal some bases to get into scoring position, then let the next guy hit you in.?

The Warriors will look to Fruechting, Case and Raglund to consistently drive in runs.

?Those are the guys that can get up there and drive the ball and make runs happen,? Mermis said.

Marion opened its season Friday at Sacred Heart in Salina. The Warriors will host Collegiate April 6 and travel to Hillsboro April 9. Both twinbills begin at 4:30 p.m.

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